Music of Diablo III

While some have argued that the art styles of the Blizzard games have been drifting closer and closer together, the music of their franchises is undeniably unique.

This fact was brought to mind by this recent post by Bashiok:


Official Blizzard Quote:




I know most of you aren't into the whole WoW thing but if you visit the below link, which is a pretty awesome promotion in general, and scroll down there's a link to listen to the song 'Invincible' which is used somewhere in Icecrown (Arthas' lair). It's extremely WoW in flavor, but I think maybe gives a good sense of the quality and composition that we're at now.

http://www.worldofwarcraft.com/wowan...ary/battlecry/

Hopefully the little snippets on the Diablo III site give a good impression that the Diablo music is in fact Diablo music. And comparing Diablo III, to WoW, to StarCraft II there's an obvious care and attention to each game and the settings and emotion and tone.


When compared, the sample from World of Warcraft (linked to in the above post), and this sample from Diablo III, prove to be incredibly distinct. The sample from World of Warcraft has a much more epic feel, due to the choirs in the background. The instruments themselves also contribute to this feel, listen closely and you will pick up oncellos, violins, trumpets, and other such orchestral instruments. It's this grand orchestra that helps to contribute to the epic atmospheric music of Warcraft, an atmosphere which fits the franchise like a glove.

However, the sample from Diablo III conveys a much creepier, gothic feel through to the listener. It uses odd, perhaps even unconventional sounds to produce a very unique sound. Cellos were the only actual instruments I could pick up, along with a multitude of various percussion, and synthesized sounds. Granted, I don't have a musical ear, so perhaps those of you with musical talent could shed some light on what could have went into making this piece.

To further show the musical distinction of the three franchises, is this theme from Starcraft. At first listen, you can quickly pick up on more modern sounds in the music. Synthesizers, electric guitars, drum kits, and many other more modern sounding instruments make up this piece. Which, of course, makes sense. It would be rather odd for a futuristic game such as Starcraft to use classical instruments such as the violin or trumpet.

Basically, context is key in the music. For Warcraft, which is generally high fantasy, epic sounds and music styles are used. For Diablo, their gothic fantasy franchise, odd, creepy sounds are used to compose the atmospheric music. For Starcraft, their futuristic RTS, it seems that more modern sounding instruments are brought together to form music that conveys a feeling of technological (or biological, in the case of the Zerg) conquest.


Official Blizzard Quote:




That's my feeling anyway. I work here I guess it's hard to take my word as anything but towing the company line but really I've always loved the music in Blizzard games and it just keeps getting better and better.


The truth could not be said any clearer, the music Blizzard produces has definitely evolved over the years, and improved by leaps and bounds.

When you compare music from Diablo I, and the music from Diablo III, it is quickly realized that the quality has improved. More sounds are able to be layered on top of each other, said sounds can be tweaked and modified to better convey atmosphere, and the sounds are made more crisp by improved recording and playback technology.

So, even if we are afraid of a foreign art style encroaching on our beloved franchise, we can rest assured that the music will not only improve, but will stay within the realm of gothic fantasy that we've all come to know and love.

Comments

  • #1 DesmondTiny
    As long as they include Tristram theme somewhere in D3 I'll be satisfied with the music :P lol
  • #2 Maka
    that's all well and good, but i dare you to look me in the eye and tell me that this piece doesn't sound better and cooler than anything D3 has presented so far.
  • #3 Zhar
    Hey, that's an exception, it's a classic :D
  • #4 Maka
    true :P

    all i can say is i hope music in D3 is at least on a par with the other two games.
  • #5 Zhar
    Check out some of the music on the Diablo III website, the New Tristram theme is actually quite amazing, I often listen to it when sketching.
  • #6 Cyanide-Tipped
    I'm a huge fan of the music in games, especially from Blizzard. I know people who turn off sound or music in games, like Diablo 2, but I still enjoy hearing them anytime I can...especially Tristram. ;)

    Blizzard has yet to disappoint me, even the WoW music catches my ear. Wish I could have gone to that symphony in Australia.
  • #7 rrock54
    Another thing you may notice about the music in the Diablo franchise is that it mirrors its representative culture. By this I mean that when you look at an area in Diablo 2 specifically the towns, the theme you hear is very fitting to how we see that culture they are portraying in reality. This creates a sense of realism and immersion. Then the dark and creepy atmospheric music you hear in the dungeons definitely sets a tone of an oppressing and foreboding area, this was done very well in Diablo 1. I assume the music we will hear in Diablo 3 will use the techniques used in all of Blizzards previous titles especially the dark heavy atmospheric music of Diablo 1 and the immersive themes of Diablo 2 to make a game that sounds absolutely amazing.
  • #8 Worldeater
    Sure the music has improved in definition and clarity, but the most important thing is that the artist is able to write compositions that really grab you. Matt Uelmen did an amazing job of that. It's mostly irrelevant what the quality of recording or number of instruments they can layer is, if they aren't able to capture truly memorable melodies and moods. Just saying, the Diablo 3 music has yet to be shown to be an improvement on Diablo II, and in fact i'll be surprised if it is.
  • #9 Magistrate
    The music in Diablo is not meant to "grab your attention," it's meant to be passive background music that sets a tone/mood. The "grab your attention" music we saw was only present in Harrogath of Diablo II, where they were going for an "epic" feeling of war and impending battle. Other than that, it was all atmospheric.

    I think for Diablo III to outdo Diablo II in terms of music, it needs more epic music to accompany major boss battles and more variety in atmospheric music to accompany basic travelling. I also think that splashes of less climatic battle music should randomly come on when you encounter Super Unique monsters or extremely large mobs. My brain starts going dead listening to the same atmospheric music repeating over and over again in Act I, especially when I take on a huge horde of monsters and it doesn't really fit what's happening.
  • #10 Worldeater
    I didn't say grab your attention. I don't mean it should overpower the game, but if it's like Diablo II it should ingrain in your soul. Diablo II's soundtrack transcends the game itself with melodies that support themselves and can exist as great music even outside of the game.

    I got the recent "Echoes of War" Blizzard music cd. The sound and recording was obviously fantastic, but the compositions to me fell flat and did not move me. It sounded a little soulless. I've only listened to that cd a couple times, yet I've listened to the Diablo II soundtrack innumerable times.
    But that experience has me worried, if that's what I have to look forward to with Diablo 3. More focus on "epic" instruments and huge orchestra than on deeply moving and affecting melodies and moods is what I got from Echoes of War, and that was quite disappointing.

    Creating great music is a personal thing; it's entirely dependent on the composer. It doesn't matter how big your orchestra is or how good your recordings are imho.
  • #11 Magistrate
    Quote from "Worldeater" »
    I didn't say grab your attention. I don't mean it should overpower the game, but if it's like Diablo II it should ingrain in your soul. Diablo II's soundtrack transcends the game itself with melodies that support themselves and can exist as great music even outside of the game.


    O_O I wasn't directing that at you, I was just saying it in general. I just couldn't think of a better word for it than you used, when you said "really grabs you."

    Diablo II's musical score could be summed up with two emotions: loneliness and dreariness. The only time that changed was in Act V, which only added a epic feel for one act. The music didn't vary much in Act V, though, it basically stayed there.

    If I have to endure a redo of Diablo II's music in Diablo III, I'm just going to turn off the music and put on my own, like I find myself doing today with Diablo II. There needs to be variation. You can't just have atmospheric music. It works in some places, but you can't just have it everywhere or it looses its appeal and its specialness. It's like playing elevator music on a loop :P

    I never said every moment needs to be epic. When I fight Duriel, the Prince of Pain, I expect more than atmospheric music. When I fight Diablo, I expect something more than what had been playing throughout the rest of the River of Flame. When I fight Bloodlust the Soul Eater, I expect more, not the passive guitar that has been plinging for the past two hours.

    Contrasting lively battle music, epic music, and atmospheric music makes each more special when you hear it, makes each moment of play more unique, and makes the score seem less redundant.
  • #12 DesmondTiny
    Quote from "Seth" »
    O_O I wasn't directing that at you, I was just saying it in general. I just couldn't think of a better word for it than you used, when you said "really grabs you."

    Diablo II's musical score could be summed up with two emotions: loneliness and dreariness. The only time that changed was in Act V, which only added a epic feel for one act. The music didn't vary much in Act V, though, it basically stayed there.

    If I have to endure a redo of Diablo II's music in Diablo III, I'm just going to turn off the music and put on my own, like I find myself doing today with Diablo II. There needs to be variation. You can't just have atmospheric music. It works in some places, but you can't just have it everywhere or it looses its appeal and its specialness. It's like playing elevator music on a loop :P

    I never said every moment needs to be epic. When I fight Duriel, the Prince of Pain, I expect more than atmospheric music. When I fight Diablo, I expect something more than what had been playing throughout the rest of the River of Flame. When I fight Bloodlust the Soul Eater, I expect more, not the passive guitar that has been plinging for the past two hours.

    Contrasting lively battle music, epic music, and atmospheric music makes each more special when you hear it, makes each moment of play more unique, and makes the score seem less redundant.


    Yea I agree. I barley noticed the music in D2. It did not come to me at all. I mean it just..idk It didnt get to me. Diablo1's music stayed with me everywhere. I mean I heard it all the time and I loved it and It went vary well. I hope D3 can keep my attention like D1 did lol.
  • #13 CrazyCapnMorgan
    So long as music is used wisely enough, it will add that much more greatness to an already seemingly impressive game. As a few of you have stated, it doesn't need to be over-the-top music, just subtle enough that you hardly know it's there, yet, forceful enough to grab your mind and let you know you're going through ruins filled with stuff that you need or would like to have, then the undead and hellish come out, the music chimes in and you just went from "Another mob..." to "Aw, sh** there goes the fan AND the ceiling!"
  • #14 InterCeption
    ...allthough I gotta say the old inn music was better than the current :P
  • #15 Mordor
    In D2 music was worse than in D1.
    Regarding New Tristram music from D3 - I think it's amazing, I love it. But I really hate world of sanctuary track -too epic and orchestral. Orchestra sounds out of place when it comes to Diablo atmosphere.
    And if I'd be voting for the best Diablo 1/2/3 track ever - I'd pick Catacombs from D1.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q0KSoDKE26o

    Apart from this orchestral worldmap track, D3 music is very promising
  • #16 Eldritch
    Yeah, I'm surprised anyone would prefer Diablo II's music over Diablo's. There was certainly more of it, but it mostly sounded like a mess of screeches and thumps to me. No melodies that stuck with me. In fact, the only melody I remember from Diablo II is the basically remixed Tristram theme. :\

    The New Tristram theme currently on the site has the same problem for me. I love the latter half of the Caldeum theme, though. Some good melody developing there.
  • #17 Mackan
    Yep, the new tristram music in Diablo III is amazing. I hope it stays in the game, and that they don't replace it with something else before shipping.
  • #18 Shatterer
    I remember D1 as being more demonic/schizofrenic/painful, but D2 feels more ambient. That corresponds to the entire game since D1 is darker with its dungeon crawling adventure, yet D2 takes us to all these new settings where the music should make us feel at home there.

    D1's music doesn't feel at home in D2 due to the nature of both games. From what we've seen of D3 we're going along the same line as D2 did, so we should find D3's soundtrack to be near to D2.
  • #19 imbacraft
    This issue is actually much more important than most people tend to think. It REALLY helps shaping the atmosphere of the game.

    D1 soundtrack is actually the epitome of gothic ambient and I think that everyone who wants to work in the genre should start here.

    D2 soundtrack was worse in my opinion, I agree with the people here saying that it took a more ambient approach, but we must also admit that Matt Uelmen just didn't manage surpass himself or deliver something of equal value.

    From what we have seen for D3, the New Tristram theme is... unremarkable to say the least. And I am being really kind. I mean... it's an insult that I see the word "Tristram" in there. Anyway, the Overture is bombastic and actually not bad, especially when it starts, but then it gets repeated and boring. But aside the composition itself, the decision to continue on the Act 5 epic orchestral mood just doesn't fit with the franchise. The emphasis here is put on epic, because thats the only thing that makes it unfitting. Orchestral themes are actually acceptable and even desirable in D3, and as said before would be good for boss battles, but in the mood of Diablo 2 title theme. Meaning evil/demonic/etc and ominous.

    My dream D3 soundtrack would have these things :

    1)Heavy use of string instruments and rhythmic percussion. String instruments (mainly acoustic guitar) give out a medieval and melancholic tone and the percussion delivers tension and rhythm necessary for a hack and slash game.

    2) Some scarce vocal parts. And by that I mean: First, the oriental influenced female voice like we have in the Overture, but in a much more melancholic tone and, to exaggerate a bit, with a tone of elegy. Second, I need choir. Yes there should be some tidbits where an ominous choir, preferably male, should kick in to emit the ominous atmosphere, in the style of the Dungeon D1 theme ending, or the title theme in Diablo 2. BUT it should remain subtle and not very prominent. Third, demonic voice effects. Succubus moaning, children crying, demons screaming, etc. VERY, VERY subtle into the songs, like in D1.

    3)Melody. Not sound effects mixed together. Tracks that are listenable outside the game. This is from what many of the D2 tracks suffered. Pure ambience, no melody. Much much loss from that.

    4)Adaptation. Since we will be travelling many areas, the tracks composed should represent the culture of that area. This was achieved very well in D2, but I want this to be done while maintaining the characteristics 1, 2 and 3, when possible. Perfect example : Harem theme, D2. Has everything above, plus eastern feeling.

    Anyway, enough of my dreams. If I get half of these, I'll be happy.
  • #20 Maka
    great post, imbacraft! Agreed 100%:
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